The UK Interactive Entertainment Association (Ukie) has today launched the Get Smart About P.L.A.Y campaign, encouraging more parents and carers to use tools that manage screen time and in-game purchases on video game consoles.
The campaign follows a recent report from Europe’s video game industry body which found that only one in five parents of children who spend money in video games use the family controls available on gaming devices. This is backed up by a 2019 NSPCC study that revealed just 19% of parents of children aged 5-15 use family controls on internet-connected devices.
A YouGov poll carried out for Ukie also found that more than half of parents and carers in the UK are concerned about how much time their children spend playing games.
Rio Ferdinand, a parent and keen game player, has joined the campaign which provides step by step guides on how to use the controls and the benefits that they provide.
“My kids love playing video games but as a parent it is important for me to be able to manage the amount of time they play,” said Rio Ferdinand. “Family controls can help achieve a balance at home between screen time and other activities. They’re easy to use and save a lot of arguments in the long run.”
The Get Smart About P.L.A.Y campaign provides parents and care-givers with a four-step process to help set parameters around play:
P - Play with your kids. Discover amazing games and understand what they play and why.
L - Learn about family controls for your console.
A - Ask what your kids think. Discuss ground rules before setting restrictions.
Y - You’re in charge. Set restrictions that work for your family.
“These controls can effectively help manage screen time and age-appropriate play even when you’re not in the room. It doesn’t take long to set up the controls and it means families can enjoy games together safely.” commented Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie. “If a child was given a bike at Christmas, we would expect them to also be given stabilisers - family controls are really no different.”
“The Get Smart About P.L.A.Y. campaign’s four-step process encourages families to have open and healthy discussions that will benefit everyone,” said Emma Kenny, one of the UK’s leading TV psychologists.
“Children want their carers to understand their interests, so as important as it is to set limits on the time and money they can spend playing games it’s also important to understand why they play and how much play means to them.”